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Sohrabuddin case: CBI won’t challenge officers’ discharge

The court directed the CBI to serve a notice to D.G. Vanzara, directing him to present his side on January 29. File photo

The court directed the CBI to serve a notice to D.G. Vanzara, directing him to present his side on January 29. File photo  

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HC told agency has no instructions to file plea against order absolving top cops

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Bombay High Court on Monday that it does not have instructions to challenge the CBI court order discharging top police officers accused in the alleged Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

CBI counsel Sandesh Patil and Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the single-judge bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere that the agency had alreadychallenged the discharge of some junior officers in the case, but will not challenge the order that absolved senior officers.

The court had discharged Deputy Inspector General of Gujarat D.G. Vanzara, Rajasthan IPS officer Dinesh M.N., and Gujarat IPS officer Rajkumar Pandiyan from the case. Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Shaikh through advocate Gautam Tiwari had filed a revision application in the HC for the order to be set aside.

The plea said, “The lower court judge not only chose to discard the testimony of more than 40 prosecution witnesses, he also completely ignored the irrefutable evidence on record, such as the call detail record between Mr. Vanzara and other accused persons.”

‘Trace Vanzara’

Mr. Tiwari told the High Court on Monday that while they had been able to serve notices to Mr. Dinesh M.N. and Mr. Pandiyan, they had been unable to trace Mr. Vanzara. The HC had earlier directed the CBI to provide Mr. Vanzara’s address to the petitioner, but Mr. Tiwari said the agency had provided an incorrect address.

The court directed the CBI to trace Mr. Vanzara’s whereabouts and serve him the notice directing him to present his side of the case in the HC on January 29. The bench observed, “The CBI is a premier probe agency. It should not encounter any impediment in finding the respondent’s [Mr. Vanzara’s] whereabouts, or getting his address. We often direct the investigating officers to serve notices, so in this case the CBI should do it to avoid further delays in hearing.”

The CBI court had discharged the three officers on the grounds that the CBI had failed to get prior sanction or special permission to prosecute them. But in a previous hearing, Justice Mohite-Dere had questioned whether the lack of such sanction alone could be an adequate reason to warrant an accused person’s discharge.

She had also observed that while the CBI had challenged the discharge of constables and sub-inspectors, it had gone quiet on the discharge of most of the senior IPS officers. The court will hear the matter related to the senior officers along with the CBI plea challenging the discharge of Rajasthan sub-inspectors Himanshu Singh and Shyam Singh Charan.

Journalists’ petition

The same bench also heard the petition filed by the Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists seeking to quash the order passed by CBI banning media from reporting and publishing on the trial. The court directed that notices be issued to all respondents in the case and adjourned the matter to January 19.

In November 2017, Judge S.J. Sharma had said, “Considering the sensibility in the matter, likelihood of happening of any untoward incident and likelihood of effect on the trial of this matter, in case of day-to-day publication of evidence may be brought on record.” The court had allowed the application by the defence and said, “It may happen that the publication may create security problem for the accused persons, prosecution witnesses, the defence team and the prosecutor as well.”

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 10:42:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/sohrabuddin-case-cbi-wont-challenge-officers-discharge/article22445305.ece

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